Positive – or not?
EU entry is favored by half of all Turkish people
Findings of a representative AP-GfK survey in Turkey
Half of the Turkish population is in favor of Turkey joining the European Union; however, almost as many Turkish people have a negative impression of the large Western European countries. Unemployment and terrorism are regarded as serious problems by most people in Turkey. Opinions are divided in assessing the country’s current and future economic situation. These are the findings of the recent AP-GfK survey on the current state of affairs in Turkey.
Turkey and its relationship with other countries
When asked whether Turkey should join the European Union, half of respondents are in favor of entry, around a third are opposed and 12% have no opinion. However, the proportion of advocates in the 50 plus age group falls to 44%, although the number of opponents in this age group does not increase: instead, there are more respondents who have no opinion on EU entry.
The general view among the population is that Turkey should remain in NATO: around half believe it is best to stay, a quarter think the country should leave the organization and a similar proportion are not sure.
When asking about the impression that Turkish people have of large Western European countries and the USA, Germany comes out on top, with a 16% share of positive votes, followed by Italy (12%), Spain (11%), the USA (10%), the UK (9%) and France (6%). Overall, however, a higher proportion of respondents express a negative opinion on these countries: approximately half have a poor image of the USA, the UK and France, while Germany, Italy and Spain are unpopular with 40% of the population. It is noticeable that, in general, the urban population has a more negative image of foreign countries. For example, 44% of respondents living in a city say their perception of Germany is not good, whereas only 33% of rural dwellers share this view. In addition, for all the presented countries there are more people in the cities who have an indifferent attitude; however, the proportion of those who say “I don’t know” is more than twice as high in rural areas as in the cities.
“Since the population in the cities is set to grow, EU entry will not become any easier in future,” says Dr. Raimund Wildner, Managing Director of the GfK Association, commenting on this finding.
Assessing the state of affairs in Turkey
Just under 40% of respondents judge the economic situation in Turkey to be quite bad, and 13% even believe it is “very bad”. Around a quarter assess the Turkish economy positively.
Opinions are also divided regarding the economic situation in five years’ time: approximately one third anticipate an improved economic situation, and the same proportion expect things to deteriorate. Around one in five believe that nothing will change.
Almost all Turkish people view unemployment and terrorism as serious problems for Turkey (93% in each case), and two-thirds even judge the problems in these areas to be particularly serious. Almost 90% of respondents are concerned about drug abuse, and the critical attitude of Turkish people to drug use is also evident from the fact that 70% of respondents would not like to have drug addicts as neighbors. Heavy drinkers are also not welcome in the neighborhood (57% rejection).
The positive development of the domestic economy is important to the Turkish population: over 80% mention good economic growth, a strong military defense, more influence at work and in the community and general improvements to the country’s image as goals for the next 10 years.
The private circumstances of Turkish people
In response to the question of whether they are generally content with their life at present, 55% answer that they are happy and almost 20% say they are unhappy.
In particular, Turkish people seem to find their personal financial situation a strain. Regarding problems in their own family, around a quarter of respondents mention unemployment and rising living costs owing to inflation. The same proportion are concerned about poverty.
Despite these concerns, just under half of individuals surveyed assessed their own financial situation as satisfactory. A quarter said the financial situation in their family was good, and a quarter described it as bad. 34% believe that their own family’s finances will improve in the next five years, but just as many anticipate a deterioration.
Asking Turkish people how they view their children’s prospects 20 years from now reveals their long-term future expectations. Opinions are also divided here. Around a third of respondents believe that our children will be in a better position in 20 years’ time than today, but the proportion of those who think the future will be worse is just as high. One in five even anticipate that the children of today will face a much worse situation in 20 years than we do now.
The recent AP-GfK survey was conducted between November 1 and December 11, 2010 by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications in collaboration with GfK Türkiye and with the support of the GfK Association. In this representative survey, 1,200 individuals aged 18 and over were questioned on a range of issues. Further information is available at www.ap-gfkpoll.com
The GfK Association
The GfK Association was established in 1934 as a non-profit organization for the promotion of market research. Its membership consists of approximately 600 companies and individuals. The purpose of the Association is to develop innovative research methods in close cooperation with academic institutions, to promote the training and further education of market researchers, to observe the structures and developments in society, the economy and politics that play a key role in private consumption, and to research their effects on consumers. Survey results are made available to members free of charge.
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